So often as yoga teachers we hear that familiar phrase of obtaining a work/life balance and how important it is for everyone to find that. We instill it as a theme for our classes, we use it as an excuse (not in a bad way) to sleep in that extra hour on a Saturday. And we struggle with it, as everyone does. Almost everyone has a story about how they have battled with it and overcome some obstacle that shows them how important it is to obtain a work/life balance, and even more of us feel comfortable telling people that we haven’t gotten there yet. The problem I’m running across is that as much as the yoga community instills that value of obtaining a work/life balance, there are not many tools out there to support us. The Business of Yoga is getting in my way. When I first starting teaching yoga, my teacher training (thankfully) included a dedicated workshop on the business of yoga. Never before did I realize all my teachers had to go through to obtain that persona and presence at the front of the classroom. The requirements to maintain your own separate business in addition to creating your brand and fill your classes can be quite overwhelming. Government regulations haven’t caught up with social media and still require some outdated requirements just so that we can be authorized to teach and to protect the studios that we love and call home. Never before did I realize all the hoops and juggling that came with running my own yoga business. Create an LLC they said. Post on social media they said. No one said anything about needing to maintain a blog and a website when the blog didn’t cut standards. No one mentioned all the paper I might have to waste printing out fliers to submit to my studios so they could even employ me, by government regulations. Darn that red tape.
And then there is the continuing education and finding your niche. I feel so jealous sometimes of the teachers I have met who have time to attend so many workshops and have already found their own particular brand of yoga. Can I just show up and make everyone giggle? Is that a yoga style? Can I make jokes about spirit fingers during Warrior I and make my students hold plank without branding it? Not to get me wrong. I’m kinda finding my own niche. I love outdoor yoga and randomly doing yoga poses places I’m not supposed to be doing them, like on my lunch hour in my business attire and climbing a tree in my backyard. But how do I know if that is my “brand”? Can I market “Random Yoga?”
I love that every yoga teacher I have met has their own certain way of teaching and I suppose that to remain a student forever is the goal of yoga. So that makes me Wonder Woman apparently. I still get butterflies when I go into my regular class and I still stumble and fall out of tree pose when I am a bit too jumpy. I forget to practice asanas sometimes and I never have gotten the hang of meditation. I try, but according to Yoda… that’s only “not doing” it. I stay up too many nights working on publishing materials and posting classes on facebook and don’t get enough sleep sometimes. I’m overly critical of myself and I hope I’m doing my students some good. I guess that’s all I can wish for.
I guess to make a long story short (too late), remember the next time you go to a class. Be gentle with the teacher who cues left instead of right. Be patient with them and with your fellow students when something doesn’t go according to plan. Know that they are doing their best and think of all they have had to go through to make it to the front of the class for you. Work/life balance is not just balancing job/ home life but might mean balancing main job/second job/ taking classes/ home life and a hundred other scenarios. As yoga teachers, we too have to remember to take those deep breaths, smile at our mistakes, and secretly cry sometimes at the amount of effort that goes into doing something you love. And I do love teaching yoga.